Leading by example to reduce stress for students during a pandemic

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Social workers within schools differ from those in hospitals or other human service organizations. They still work with clients to eliminate barriers to their success, but those who work in education are zeroed in on what will help the child learn. Katy Lee is a school social worker with the Grant Wood Area Education Agency and shared her insights on how she’s still doing her job amidst the pandemic, and how families can best manage stress.

Katy Lee would typically go into schools and observe children who are referred to GWAEA. Due to COVID-19 precautions, some districts aren’t allowing outside visitors. Her team has found a way to still observe these students, and even those who are learning virtually, by using technology. But it varies depending on the district and some are “business as usual” according to Lee.

When it comes to how parents and other caregivers can best support students who are struggling, Lee says the first priority has to be self-care.

“It’s kind of like when you go on the airplane and have an air mask, put in on yourself before the child – same kind of a concept. It’s important for caregivers to examine how they’re doing and support their wellbeing,” said Lee. She said kids are always watching how adults handle stress. And if parents find ways to manage frustration and disappointment in a healthy way, the child will do the same.

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